Image: Liam Neeson & Vera Farmiga in The Commuter. [Source: IMDB]
Commuting to work each and every day should be the most monotonous task in your day, well it is for the most part until this businessman is caught up in a criminal conspiracy on his way home during his commute.
Director: Jaume Collet-Serra. Starring: Liam Neeson, Vera Farmiga, Patrick Wilson 
Liam Neeson returns as a general everyday man with a loving wife and kids, yet he used to be an agent for the government of some kind. What I’m getting at is that Neeson has been fitted right back into the formula that blockbusters have been writing for him since Taken (Dir. Morel. 2008). Much how films of this formula play out so too does The Commuter, Neeson being the retired older man is placed in the face of danger and excitement ensues, well it’s supposed to.
What The Commuter instead delivers is a premise that to begin with seems so ludicrous it is hard to buy into, thankfully director Collet-Serra does manage to bring us round to the plausibility and the beginning of the film does sit well, the pacing and dramatization of the narrative in the early stages of the film work well. It reminded me often of Murder on The Orient Express in its train-based mystery and intrigue. There are some interesting ideas here, some the film even decides to turn its back on for the sake of a neater ending, and here’s me thinking Hollywood loved the idea of turning things into trilogies if they could. It’s a shame the film did not run more with the narrative concepts it started with as when the film gets going it genuinely was interesting, what if a normal man was suddenly wedged into a situation such as this by pure chance.
However, the direction quickly shifts from mystery to action which did nothing but pander to the uninspired action movies of recent times. Instead of delivering fresh, exciting ideas or even trying to be purely action based, like how in a sense Mad Max: Fury Road (Dir. Miller. 2015) did this and that was absolutely thrilling. Neeson phones it in throughout the movie and to be frank a lot of the movie seems like last ditched attempt to claw at the money and success that Taken saw. However, it has failed since and it will continue to fail again, the formula is too easy to read and its made even more gruelling when they seem like cheap knockoff copies trying to trick the audience into thinking it’s one of kind.
The Commuter is boxed into its formulaic style and narrative, while it may start out stronger than you would expect, the direction shifts and that does nothing but nauseate. The narrative starts out exciting but is left going in so many directions that meet dead ends or the film turns its back on these ideas that it is both confusing and uninspired. The action plays out like half-baked attempts at excitement which just leaves this film on the floor looking like the mess it is.